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Blog Q & A Understanding Your Responsibilities With Condo Ownership
Understanding Your Responsibilities With Condo Ownership
Q & A
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Not too long ago I received a question from a woman in San Diego who was concerned about a problem with her University Heights condo. It was her understanding when she purchased the condo that everything located within the walls would be the responsibility of the HOA. After discovering a leak within her walls, she contacted the HOA and was told that they would send someone to cut into the wall to determine the source of the leak. They told her that if the leak was coming from a pipe that supplied water directly to her condo, that she could be responsible for the repairs.
condo-chula-vistaCondo in Chula Vista, CASituations such as this are not uncommon. This is one of the reasons that it is vitally important to read all HOA documents from beginning to end. Should there be any parts that you do not understand, ask for clarification. You must know exactly what your role and responsibilities will be prior to purchasing a condo.
Take for example a condo in Poway (a suburb in San Diego) that we recently inspected. This owner was also experiencing problems with the plumbing. In this case, the leaking pipe was in a common wall of the building and transported water up to other units above. After sections of the drywall were removed by workers and the pipe exposed, it was determined that the leaking pipe was providing water service to another condo. The individual for which I had completed the home inspection for was cleared of any responsibility. However, she had to pay for the drywall repair out of pocket. Clearly, this seems unfair, but since it was included in the CC&R's for her development she had little to say in the matter unfortunately.
As a general rule the owner of a condo will not be responsible for what goes on inside the walls of their condo. Responsibility should include anything within the condo, from the paint on the wall inward. With this in mind, it will be important to press the issue should a problem occur outside of the living space and you are being told that it will be your responsibility to pay for repairs.
The condo inspections that we perform will include a check of the windows, a visit to the attic to look for leaks and examine insulation, a check of upper balconies to see if the railing systems are stable, whether or not the deck surface appears waterproof, etc. We do this to provide condo buyers with information about problems with the building which may be outside of their specific responsibility, but should be addressed prior to them completing their purchase. We feel it's best to start with a clean slate. HOA rules can vary greatly, and many buyers do not take the time to read them all. A condo inspection may be the only thing that protects buyers prior to them signing on the dotted line.
Knowing this, a condo inspection will provide a potential buyer with a detailed inspection report so that they will know the condition of the condo and may choose to take action before falling subject the HOA rules. Never assume that the HOA offers you total protection should problems occur. Your HOA fees may be applied to a number of different areas of the property. However, fees may not be applied to certain repairs unless stated in your HOA documents. Read your HOA documents early enough in the process so that you can direct questions to your Realtor or seek clarification from the HOA itself.

Areas Served: We serve the areas listed above as well as many others. If you do not see your city, please contact us. We will be proud to serve your city.
Darin Redding
Written on Saturday, 07 May 2011 10:06 by Darin Redding

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